Holocaust survivor gives talk to pupils at secondary school in Neasden
PUBLISHED: 10:39 05 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:39 05 February 2016
Â© Adam Tiernan Thomas
Pupils at a Neasden secondary school listened in silence as a Holocaust survivor gave a searing first hand account of her life in the Nazi death camps.
Susan Pollack, 85, spoke to pupils from the Crest Academy in Crest Road, as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust.
The mother-of-three, who was born in Hungary and has six grandchildren, told pupils of her experiences at Auschwitz-Berkanau death camp where aged 14 she was separated from her mother who she later discovered had been immediately taken to the gas chambers.
Her father had disappeared two years earlier when called to attend a meeting on the welfare of the family, he was instead herded into a lorry and taken to a concentration camp.
Mrs Pollack worked at Auschwitz before being sent to Germany to work as slave labour for an armaments factory.
Forced on a death march to Bergen-Belsen, she was finally liberated by the British Army in April 1945.
Following the testimony was question and answer session with the pupils.
Heena Malik, a year 10 pupil, said: “I don’t think I have met anyone who has been through so much discrimination and suffering, and yet was so positive in re-building her life. It was an inspiration to listen to her speak”
Hawra Mosa, also year 10, added: “It was really touching to hear Susan speak. When she smiled at us so warmly, it felt very emotional knowing what she had been through”
Michael Taylor, history teacher at Crest said: “Susan really brought the subject of the Holocaust to life with her vivid stories and experiences of anti-Semitism before and during the war and her time spent at the camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen. It is vitally important we study these events closely, in order to better understand what human beings can be capable of.”
Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, added: “Susan’s story is one of tremendous courage during horrific circumstances and by hearing her testimony, students will have the opportunity to learn where prejudice and racism can ultimately lead.
“At the Trust, we impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, to ensure that we honour the memory of those whose lives were lost and take forward the lessons taught by those who survived.”